Belt and Road cooperation to highlight Theresa May's visit

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Cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative will be among the highlights of UK Prime Minister Theresa May's upcoming visit to China, said Liu Xiaoming, China's Ambassador to the UK. 2018 will see the China-proposed Initiative making more solid progress, the Ambassador told reporters in a recent interview. 

Looking forward to Theresa May's official visit to China scheduled from January 31 to February 2, Liu Xiaoming, China's Ambassador to the UK said that the two countries expect to see more cooperation brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative. He observed that there has been growing enthusiasm towards the Initiative from UK government and businesses.

"We've seen advisory bodies being set up and special envoys appointed to help UK businesses better understand and engage in the Belt and Road Initiative. The UK government has pledged more than 30 billion US dollars worth of financial support for companies participating in the Belt and Road projects in Asia. China and UK have also established a bilateral Belt and Road themed investment fund with a preliminary value of one billion US dollars.”

During a previous visit to China, UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond regarded his country as the "natural partner" in Belt and Road Initiative. Britain is one of the first countries to have made financial contributions to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and also the first major Western country to have approved and signed the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road projects. Liu Xiaoming explained that the UK enjoys many advantages in cashing in on the Belt and Road Initiative. 

"UK's strengths lie in its expertise in the financial and legal sectors. The country also has a long history of trading with countries along the Belt and Road which will play an important role in creating multi-party cooperation platforms."

Liu Xiaoming said that Theresa May's visit will build on the "Golden Era" of China-UK relations which was established during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the UK in 2015. He quoted statistics to show that trade volumes between the two countries reached 79 billion US dollars in 2017, an increase of nearly 6.2% on last year's numbers and with the UK seeking to build a global vision after Brexit, the two countries will see the "Golden Era" enriched by new opportunities emerging from projects such as those under the Belt and Road framework. 

"And so we have reasons to believe that the Belt and Road Initiative will not only provide new growth point for China-UK cooperation, but also help the 'Golden Era' of China-UK relations to yield more Golden fruits."

It was announced that during her China visit, Theresa May will co-host the bilateral annual prime ministerial meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and she will also travel to other cities including Shanghai and Wuhan. This is Theresa May's first official visit to China since she assumed office in 2016.

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